3 Workouts That Burn More Calories Than A 5-Kilometre Run

There’s a reason running is such a mainstay on the fitness scene. It’s a great workout, it’s excellent for building endurance, and, in theory, all you need is a good sports bra and a pair of sneakers to get it done. Plus, it’s a solid way to torch calories: A 68-kilogram woman running five kilometres in 30 minutes (that’s a 10-minute-1.5-kilometre pace) will burn roughly 340 calories. That’s 113 calories per mile—not bad! 

But sometimes it’s good to mix it up, and there are plenty of equally—or more—effective ways to work up a solid calorie burn than hitting the road for a five-kilometre run. (Bonus: They don’t necessarily involve fancy equipment, boutique fitness studios, or wallet-busting gym memberships.) Here are three workouts that’ll give your next run, well, a run for its money. 

“As much as I adore running outdoors, I’ve learned that running isn’t necessarily the fastest or most effective way to burn calories,” says Daphnie Yang, an IISA Certified Personal Trainer and creator of HIIT IT!, an interval-style training workout in New York City. “It’s important to constantly confuse your muscles in order to effectively burn calories and keep your fitness level from hitting a plateau.” Yang’s high-intensity interval training workout forces participants to train at their maximum effort in short bursts of time. “Training in this manner shocks your metabolism into high gear, torches calories, burns body fat, and sculpts lean muscle mass more effectively than running,” she says. 

Yang relies on a descending interval kind of training, which is different from a typical tabata-style program. “Tabata intervals—performing an exercise for 20 seconds and then recovering for 10 seconds for eight rounds—are fantastic for skyrocketing the heart rate, but I’ve found that 20 seconds isn’t enough time to perform more complex and creative total-body movements,” she says. “You need more time to get in enough repetitions to get the heart rate up into that crazy-high zone. It’s more challenging than Tabata training and lets you sculpt the entire body while melting away fat. Your metabolism will stay elevated for hours after you finish your workout.”

  • 60 seconds of burpees

  • 10 seconds rest

  • 45 seconds of jump lunges with arm swing

  • 10 seconds rest

  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers

  • 10 seconds rest

  • Repeat for a total of three rounds

Or try this variation:

  • 60 seconds of burpees with tricep push-up

  • 10 seconds rest

  • 45 seconds of skater jumps

  • 10 seconds rest

  • 30 seconds of plank jacks

  • 10 seconds rest

  • Repeat for a total of three rounds

Calories burned: Each descending interval lasts just over eight minutes, and burns between 100 to 140 calories per interval, Yang says. 

RELATED: This Is The Best Workout For Weight Loss, According To Science

“This workout is different from a run because instead of going at a steady pace and keeping your heart rate consistent for 30 minutes, you’ll be working through different heart-rate zones,” says Chisel Club creator and personal trainer Lauren Williams. This total-body workout includes strength work for the lower body, upper body, and core, and Williams “added some sprints in there, too, to get your heart rate up, work your legs, and torch calories.”

PART 1: Complete the following exercises for 45 seconds each:

  • Plank walks

  • Squat jumps

  • Sumo squat pulse

  • Pushups

  • 2 rounds of 10-second sprints

Rest for 60 seconds, then repeat the sequence three times. 

PART 2: Complete the following exercises for 45 seconds each

  • Mountain climber crossovers

  • Side lunges

  • Core toe touches

  • Donkey kicks

  • 3 rounds of 10-second sprints

Rest for 60 seconds, then repeat the sequence three times.

Calories burned: Calories will vary by weight, height, and effort, but Williams says the goal for this workout is to burn 350 to 450 calories.

Forget steady-state cardio: If your goal is to bust some calories and go for a run, hit the track for an interval workout! “A structured workout with higher intensity, like intervals with really hard ‘on’ segments, will get you fitter and will help you learn the different paces your body can work at,” says John Honerkamp, a running coach and consultant for New York Road Runners. Plus, says Honerkamp, “running fast is fun!”

  • 5-minute easy warm-up jog

  • 8 x 400m on a track, trail, or road at 5K pace. (New to the track? 8 x 400m means running a 400-metre-stretch eight times with short recovery segments in between.) If you’re not sure what your 5K pace is, shoot for a seven out of 10 on your personal rate of perceived effort scale, says Honerkamp. 

  • Rest for 30 seconds after each interval, then hold a 30-second plank after each odd interval round or do five to 10 pushups after each even interval

  • Five to 10-minute easy cool-down jog

Calories burned: 350+

This article originally appeared on Womenshealthmag.com.

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